Local Conservative candidate wins, party loses, election

Trent Ernst, Editor

The Conservatives maintain their hold on Northeastern BC as Bob Zimmer was re-elected to Parliament on October 19.

Despite calls for his resignation by various groups after his comments in Dawson Creek about aboriginal women, Zimmer went on to win the riding with 52.6 percent of the popular vote, or 27,236.

That’s down significantly from the 2011 election, where Zimmer took the riding with 62.12 percent of the eligible voters.

In second place was Matt Shaw with the Federal Liberal Party, who received 12,863 votes, or 24.8 percent of the overall vote.

Shaw did significantly better than his predecessor Ben Levine, who only managed to capture 5.21 percent of the vote in 2011.

NDP candidate Kathi Dickie placed third, with 8,014 votes, 15.5 percent of the popular vote, down from the 25.62 percent of eligible voters who voted for Lois Boone in the previous election.

Elizabeth Biggar, Green Party of Canada, got 2,672 votes, for just over five percent of the popular vote. That’s slightly down from previous candidate Hilary Crowly, who got just under six percent of the vote.

Todd Keller of the Libertarian Party of Canada had 559 votes, while Tumbler Ridge resident and Progressive Canadian Party Candidate Barry Blackman got 464 votes.

“Well, you win some and you lose some in life,” says Shaw. “Tonight I lost. I always knew it was going to be hard to win the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding. It was certainly an interesting process, however, and I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to get to know the North and its people a lot better. I’ll always be extremely grateful to have had the experience. Maybe I’ll take a run at it next time.

“I really would like to have the opportunity to do some good as an MP in the future. All the best to everyone who supported me. I feel extremely lucky and thankful.”

While Shaw lost in this traditionally conservative riding (the last time a Liberal represented this area was in 1972, when Robert Borrie was elected), the Liberal Party, under Justin Trudeau will be forming a majority government, having won 184 seats of the 338 across the country. That’s 54.4 percent of the seats.

The Liberals got 39.5 percent of the popular vote, as compared to 31.9 percent for the Conservatives and 19.7 percent for the NDP.

51,808 voters turned out to vote in the Prince George Peace River Northern Rockies Riding, or 67.89 percent of the eligible voters. That’s up significantly from the 38,671 people, or 54.08 percent of the voters, who turned out in 2011.

In fact, this is the largest turnout in this riding by number of voters ever, and the largest turnout by percentage of voters since at least the 1980s. (Previous to that, the information is not broken down by percentage of eligible voters.)

Across the country, voter turnout was also up, with approximately 68.5 percent of the population turned out to vote, or just over 17.5 million.

That’s up more than seven percent over the 2011 election.

This is the highest turnout nationally since 1993, when 69.6 percent of eligible voters turned out, the first year that voter turnout fell below 70 percent.

The best turnout was in the riding of Ottawa Centre, where 82.22 percent of the population turned out to vote.

The worst was in Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou in Quebec, where only 54.63 percent of the population got out to vote.